Mother’s Day just passed, and Father’s Day will soon be upon us. The celebration of both days has triggered me to think about the difficulty of parenting. Where do I start? First, I am stunned to witness how badly our children are behaving today. Out of order, out of control, and out of line! Although, its has been a number of years since I was a child, I do not think I as I am that much out of touch. When I was growing up if I even looked like I was thinking about sassing my Mother, I was challenged. If I was caught misbehaving in public I was definitely fair game for any adult to correct me, family or not. Many of us think that community watch groups are new. The is absolutely not true, communities of the past always looked out for each other. The idea of “it takes a village to raise a child” was the norm. If a neighbor saw anything out of the ordinary occurring it was reported immediately, not to the police, but to the parents.
It was a different world then, and sadly not so long ago. As I age, I see myself turning into my elders as I cannot believe what children are allowed to get away with. Although I was not a bad child; I wasn’t perfect either. I was corrected, punished, and disciplined like most children during that period when I was growing up if I misbehaved. We were not allowed to get out of line; if fact we were corrected if we even looked like we were approach the line. If my Mother did not see me misbehaving, authority to correct me was automatically deferred to any adult that did. Often, they would report back to my Mother that I had misbehaved and was corrected. That always meant triple punishment, as my Mother was correct me again, once for the act, and again for embarrassing our family.
Today, the children are running the parents and running our communities. They do what they want, they say what they want, and wear what they want. They are dressing, looking, speaking, and operating as mini-adults. They are allowed to make choices as to what they want to eat, what they are going to do, and what they think is best. Since when did a three year old, five year old or eleven year old, or even a sixteen year old know better than the parent? Parents and grandparents are terrified to correct their own children nowadays. Some in fear that they will be accused of child abuse and others are desperately looking to be friends with the children rather than parenting the children. Some are scared to correct children believing it may lead to their children rebelling. Of course, those outside the family dare not get involved. Sometimes, the parents will side with the child, rather than the individual appropriately correcting the child. Others such as teachers, elders, or other family members or close friends better not even think of getting involved for fear the parent will turn on them. It saddens me to see that everyone has backed off from raising our children.
Children are on their own to figure out what is right and what is wrong. The most frightening part is that these are the same individuals that will be making decisions for us in one capacity or another. Some will be our care takers, some will be our medical providers, some will be our legal advisors, our teachers, or leaders. It is a scary thought these are the same individuals who were never provided a foundation or road map for understanding what is right or wrong or what is appropriate or inappropriate. Our children are being short changed, and in the end so are we. We are not instilling in them a moral compass, and thus they will have no framework to reach back for to guide them in making moral or compassionate decisions. These are the individuals that will be running our communities, our territory, the world. As we celebrate our parents on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year and in future years, I also recommend that we all take on the parenting role: mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, Godparents, teachers, preachers, and leaders. We all need to sharpen up our parenting skills. If you don’t have any, acquire some. We each can take it upon ourselves to use any and every occasion as a teachable moment. As it still does take a village to raise a child and if we are to preserve our villages, we must all get re-involved in raising God’s gifts.